The road to the group Liberty United against Trump

Written By // Cailin McNamara

 Liberty University students attended a not-so-ordinary convocation in January.

President-elect Donald Trump spoke at the university during the electoral primaries. He spoke about his background, policies and his Christian worldview.

A week later Liberty’s president Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed Trump.


“I stand by Jerry’s decision to endorse Trump, I think he will do better for our country than any of the other choices,” said Thomas East, student of Liberty University.

But not all Liberty students felt that way. So some of them decided to make their feelings known by circulating a petition.

Liberty United Against Trump is a student group that was formed several months later, after a video is released of Trump making vulgar comments about a woman.

The students issued a statement criticizing the president-elect and Falwell for defending his offensive comments.


Liberty United against Trump official statement.

This statement is filled with reasons as to why they believe that Donald Trump does not represent the values of Liberty and these students want nothing to do with him.

Values such as respect for women, a clean sense of humor, and being opposed to racism are values that Liberty United Against Trump says should disqualify Trump for the support of evangelical voters.

Dustin Wahl, a spokesperson for Liberty United against Trump, believed Trump was a bad candidate for president and that he promotes things that Christians oppose.

“It wasn’t so much as a stop Trump political statement,” Wahl said. “It was as much as it was we want to disassociate this man with our university and let the world know Liberty University teaches values to students that Donald Trump does not embody.”

Falwell said he was proud of the students for speaking their minds but was sure to make a point that the statement was illogical and false.

In an article in the News & Advance, Falwell said he believed the student statement ignored the teachings of Jesus about not judging others. Falwell also said that is because they are young and still learning.


“I don’t want to call our president a liar, but it wasn’t true when he said that what we were saying wasn’t true,” Wahl said.

In an effort to illustrate that Liberty is not Trump University, Liberty United against Trump started the petition.

They gained about 1,300 signatures of support from students, alumni and faculty.

“I signed the petition against Trump because I believe he is giving our school a bad name, as well as our country,” said Liz Doherty, a sophomore at Liberty.

While many students also believe that Trump is giving Liberty a bad name, there are others who found the petition to be dividing the school.

“I think it is absolutely ridiculous,” said Jacqueline Lane, a Liberty government student. “This group thinks they are helping the name of Liberty University when in reality they are showing the world how divided and unsupportive of Jerry we have become.”

Like at Liberty, Republican groups from other Virginia universities struggled with their presidential choice as well.

The University of Virginia College Republicans chose to rescind their endorsement for Trump. They issued a statement that said he does not accurately represents the way they view and conduct themselves.

Virginia Tech and James Madison University College Republicans did not publicly endorse Trump but gave support to the Republican nominee.

In a tweet from Tyler McNally, a Liberty United against Trump member, he said he does not feel like he attends a Christian university anymore, but a Republican one with some Christian classes thrown in.

“Having our president on Fox with Liberty University written behind him is such a high profile endorsement for Donald Trump, therefore a high profile endorsement of the things Trump stands for,” Wahl said. “As Christians we believe that can be challenging to our witness to people.”

Wahl says he believes there is a sizeable number of Liberty students who want to be known as champions for Christ, not as champions of Donald Trump.

“We want to let the world know that Liberty University is not Trump University,” Wahl said. “We are not associated with Donald Trump the way our president is.”

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Liberty University’s Title IX hosts its first Domestic Violence Prayer Vigil

Written by // Cailin McNamara

The news was a surprise to many in Lynchburg.

Two Liberty University student athletes were accused of sexual assault charges and dismissed from the football team.

“This was a complete shock to me,” Sharon Asebe, Liberty University senior, said.

“I have been in classes with these two and never thought something like this could happen so close to me.”


October is domestic violence awareness month. The Liberty University Title IX office and LU Shepherds hosted their first #SPEAKUP prayer vigil in front of DeMoss hall to show support for victims domestic violence.

Valerie Dufort, Liberty’s Title IX assistant director, was in charge of the prayer vigil that is a part of an awareness campaign that lasts the whole month.

“Although this does not have to do with the things that have been going on in the media, people are starting to take notice that abuse can happen to anyone,” Dufort said.

Prior to the vigil, Title IX had tables set up at the Tilley, Reber-Thomas and the Montview student union handing out paper hands.

These hands were being filled out with names or initials of someone that has or is dealing with domestic abuse. Even if someone has not been affected by abuse, they have written a verse, a prayer or just words of encouragement.

Over 400 hands were filled out and were hanging up around the area of the prayer vigil.

“We did not expect to get as many hands filled out as we did, it was overwhelming,” Dufort said. “Just seeing the hands everywhere will emphasize that this is a problem, even in our tiny community.”


The LU Shepherds, the Title IX office, the dean of students, and community life were there to help lead in prayer. Students, faculty and staff were all encouraged to come and stand together and pray for the affected.

Sydney Malcolm, junior at Liberty University, did not realize how much of an issue domestic violence was until seeing so many people filling out hands at Reber-Thomas.

“I was raised in a bubble when it comes to this…I have grown up with such great family and friends I never knew these types of things went on so closely around me,” Malcolm said. “It’s a real eye opener.”

Every year schools are required to put out a Clery report. By law this report is required to be relased by every college and university across the United States. The report details what crimes are reported on or near campus.

The Clery report was created in honor of Jeanne Clery who was raped and murdered in 1986 in her dorm room by a fellow student.

Clery’s parents championed laws requiring colleges and universities, public and private, to disclose campus crime to the public and impose certain requirements for handling acts of sexual violence and emergency situations.

The federal law was passed in 1990.

In 2015 Liberty University had a total of one rape case, two in 2014.

By comparison, the University of Virginia, which is rather close in student size, had at total of 59 rape cases in 2014, among many other assault cases.

“We wish the number of cases we had at Liberty was zero but we are doing our best to keep that number as low as possible,” Dufort said.

Liz Doherty, sophomore at Liberty, has had personal experiences with abuse growing up.

“This month is always hard for me because it brings up old memories,” Doherty said. “The prayer vigil was hard for me to get through but I enjoyed the support.”

Stephany Steger, Liberty’s Title IX administrative assistant, helped design #SPEAKUP. This was developed to encourage people to speak up about their abuse.


#SPEAKUP was created because of Proverbs 31:8-9, which talks about speaking up for all of those who cannot speak up for themselves.

“Domestic violence is a serious issue that goes on everywhere,” Steger said. “Title IX created this event to help bring awareness and let people know that they are not alone.”

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Liberty University transit services route 90 schedule change

By: Cailin McNamara

Liberty students who reside in the Cornerstone apartment complex have relied on the bus route that goes back and forth for quite some time.


Liberty University transit services offers bus route 90 for students who live in Cornerstone so they can take the bus back and forth between school and the complex every 15 minutes.

This route takes Greenview Drive to Highway 29, which takes the bus right to Liberty’s campus.

“It is so helpful to me especially since I do not have a car, it offers me more flexibility with my class schedule,” said Mariah Rexach, a Liberty University senior.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded roughly $10.8 million to widen Greenview Drive from two to four lanes. Along with sidewalks, new traffic signals, storm drains and new lighting and landscaping.


During the fall semester, construction began on the Greenview Drive and Leeseville Road intersection.

This has become an issue for commuters who take the 90-bus through this route because it has caused extreme traffic delays making students late for class.

In an effort to fix this problem, Liberty transit services had changed their guaranteed travel time from every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes.

Tim Spencer, the charter services coordinator for Liberty transit services, says once the Greenview Drive and Leeseville Road intersection construction is finished the schedule will go back to running every 15 minutes.

“Students are not too happy about the fact that it is every half hour. But they should be happy that they know that the bus will be there and that the time they get to campus is guaranteed,” Spencer said.


On the days that there is extreme traffic on Greenview Drive, the drivers can take an alternate route down Timberlake Road and still arrive on time as promised. Taking Timberlake is a little bit of a longer ride, but the departure times are still being made.

“Bus drivers have been doing a great job of communicating with each other when the route must be changed due to traffic build up on Greenview Drive,” Spencer said.

These buses start running at 7:30 a.m., departing from Cornerstone, and run every 30 minutes until 5 p.m.. After 5 p.m. the buses run every hour until 9 p.m..

“This is extremely inconvenient because I have classes after 5 p.m. and I now need to leave an hour earlier than I need to in order to get to class on time,” said Sydney Malcolm, Liberty student.

Many commuters with the same issue have gone to transit services to complain.

“We are aware that after 5 p.m. it is a strong inconvenience for a lot of students but it is the best we can do right because we go from two buses running to one,” Spencer said. “We are doing the best we can to keep the buses running efficiently.”

There are only two buses that drive this route. Malcolm says that if transit services increased the number of buses, getting back to the 15-minute schedule would be easier.

Bailey Moulton, a route 90 bus driver, says that it would have been impossible to keep the 15-minute schedule in affect with the construction.

“Two may not seem like enough now, but once the construction is finished it will be back to normal with departures every 15,” says Moulton.

The construction is expected to be finished over the summer and the 90 bus schedule will return to running every 15 minutes in the fall semester.

“We made this change purely for the construction so we can keep our promise to students that we will get them back and forth within 30 minutes, instead of saying we are still running the 15 minute schedule and lying to the riders and making them later for a variety of things,” Spencer said.

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Liberty University’s Tips and Tricks for Student Survival

By: Caroline Morse

When the leaves start to change color and the air becomes chilly on college campuses, students anticipate the end of the semester coming soon as they approach Thanksgiving break in November prior to finals in December. However, there seems to be a decline from students academically and physically as they come to the end here on Liberty University’s campus, according to students and staff on campus.

The common reason told by many Liberty students for their academic decline is sleep deprivation, stress and becoming overwhelmed with classes as the semester progresses.

Here on Liberty’s campus, sleep deprivation seems to be a leading cause to a student’s downslope as the semester progresses. According to the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the start of an academic decline among college students is sleep deprivation with 50 percent reporting daytime sleepiness and 70 percent reporting never getting sufficient sleep. The Institute itself reports that students seem to be staying up later while having to get up early at the same time, causing the sleep deprivation.

Liberty University sophomore Kaitlin LoForti has had plenty of sleepless nights in her academic career, but is battling sleep deprivation with her friends, coffee and me-time. The key to LoForti’s successful education is surrounding herself with uplifting friends to get through her struggles and hard times throughout the semester.

“My group of friends help give each other that down time and relaxation that really helps in the school craziness,” said LoForti. “They drive me crazy, but I’d be going crazy without them.”

LoForti spends time with her friends competing on the club racquetball team, chugging Starbucks coffee, hiking along trails and playing on an intramural soccer team. All of these activities help keep her sanity and lift her spirits up when she is exhausted from school.

Besides surrounding herself with friends, LoForti also schedules me-time that allows her to unwind by herself and destress, which she does by going to the gym in the early mornings. The gym allows LoForti to not only improve herself physically, but also giving her that mental break her brain needs throughout the week. U.S. News reports that doing a physical activity will improve productivity in the classroom due to the decrease in stress levels and increase in student attention levels.

Liberty University’s Professor of Biblical Worldview Troy Matthews has been at Liberty since 2001 and has similar, but quite different advice for students struggling to finish the semester off strong. Matthews teaches mostly freshmen and transfers for their first two semesters at Liberty with Biblical Worldview 101 and 102. According to Liberty’s Assist registration, he teaches 1,383 students this semester in four different classes.

Matthew stressed that the key to survival is organization and discipline to be successful until the end of the semester with passing grades. Matthews has taught thousands of students in his 15 years at Liberty and noted that the downward slope initially starts at a decline of attendance in his classes.

“As the semester goes along, we get tired and if we’re not careful we become less and less disciplined,” said Matthews. “Therefore, attendance falls off. It sounds cliché, but people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.”

Matthews’s trick to overwhelming work is to take bit-by-bit separately and attack it independently. He remembered taking a 20 page assignment and dividing it into an outline, introduction, body and conclusion so he would not stress over the whole thing. Attacking the work load bit-by-bit keeps the student from being overwhelmed and promotes positivity as they see their work getting done.

Matthews encourages students as they approach the end of the semester to keep the end goal in mind and do their work to the best of their ability.

“Keep the end goal in mind, to graduate, but do the things now well in order to be successful,” said Matthews. “I wish I had done things differently, they weren’t bad, but not the best that I could’ve been.”

Ultimately, a student’s grade is determined by their hard work and discipline. As the semester passes, it is possible for students and staff to become prolonged with stress and start to fatigue. However, there are several ways to fight the decline in academics and physical strain.

“I’ve never failed anybody, but there are a certain percentage that do fail,” said Matthews. “They fail to come to class, fail to study for tests and quizzes, and fail to turn assignments in on time. These things will make you fail the class.”


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Liberty University Off-Campus Lifestyle

By: Caroline Morse

Liberty University officially opened Liberty affiliated resident life to living off-campus in 2012 at apartments that Liberty built, owns and occupies to this day. As soon as students turn 21-years-old, most are eager to be independent and live on their own out of on-campus residence halls. However, there are some major differences directed towards students that they should know before moving off campus, especially in Liberty affiliated apartments.

Liberty opened up The VUE off-campus community in 2012 with College Square, then Cornerstone in 2013 and finally with Oasis in 2016. Each community is not far from Liberty’s campus and all varying different price ranges to rent.

As a Liberty student, they are required to live under the Liberty Way whether the student lives on-campus or off-campus according to each Campus Guide. Even though the Liberty Way is applied across campus, there are different specific rules that apply to each community that students should be aware of.

Sophomore Kaitlin LoForti spent a year living on campus before deciding to move off with her older sister to The VUE at Oasis. One of the aspects of living off-campus that Liberty has advertised is not having curfew off-campus.

“The biggest difference between living on-campus to moving off campus is not having curfew,” LoForti said. “It’s super nice.”

If a student lives on campus, curfew on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday is at midnight, Wednesdays is at 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday is at 12:30 a.m. according to the On-Campus Living Guide. Students are able to sign out past curfew to assigned areas to study but must return to their dorms by 2 a.m.

Another difference between off-campus and on-campus living is the ability to interact between opposite sex’s in the residence halls.

Liberty’s on-campus residence halls are closed to the opposite sex throughout the semester unless they need help moving stuff into dorms or the campus has announced that they are having open dorms for a limited time period according to the On-Campus Living Guide. On the other hand, there are no rules against having the opposite sex in your apartment besides holding themselves to the Liberty Way standard according to the Off-Campus Living Guide.

A huge reason why Liberty sophomore Olivia Smith moved off-campus to Cornerstone was to have the freedom to relax with anybody of her choosing.

“I have a lot of guy friends and now that I live off campus, it makes it so much easier to hang out with them in my apartment,” Smith said.

Although living off-campus seems to have many benefits for the student body, there are also some aspects that students should be aware of before moving off-campus. There is an off-campus guide to living through the Liberty Way but it does not seem to be enforced according to Smith and LoForti. One of the biggest concerns that are voiced among the students is the party atmosphere in the off-campus apartments.

“People don’t follow the rules at all,” LoForti said. “There are parties with alcohol constantly here and only some of them have gotten busted, most don’t. The Oasis is just one big party place.”

LoForti also said that her building seems to be the main party location for many students on weekends and throughout the week.

Besides having party complaints, noise complaints are another huge problem living off-campus. According to the On-Campus Living Guide, if students live on-campus, residence halls enforce quiet hours starting at 10 p.m. to allow students to do homework or fall asleep without trouble. However, there are no quiet hours living off-campus.

“If there was one thing I could change about living off-campus it would be how loud it is,” said Smith. “It finally gets quiet around 2 a.m. sometimes.”

For students who are used to on-campus residence hall’s quiet hours, this could be something to consider if they want to move off-campus.

Liberty Senior Jon Fiseha has lived on-campus for all four years of his education at Liberty and loves the hall life. He will be graduating in the spring 2017 and plans to stay on The Hill until then.

“I wouldn’t move off-campus because they aren’t as involved in the community as we are on-campus,” said Fiseha. “Just seems like two different worlds honestly.”

Fiseha went on to say that the biggest reason he loves on-campus life is the close community between brother and sister dorms. Across Liberty’s campus, a female dorm is paired up with a male dorm and will do fun activities with each other throughout the semester to build friendships and comradery.

On-campus and off-campus Liberty residency seems to have its advantages and disadvantages for different types of students. Another off-campus option students may want to consider is moving off-campus into normal neighborhoods that are not affiliated with Liberty.

Junior Jesse Gauldin lives off-campus in a normal neighborhood with two other roommates just five minutes away from Liberty and does not have any major problems with his surroundings.

“I like where I live a lot,” said Gauldin. “There are a couple of other students that live around us but I’ve never had any problems with anything.”

Gauldin also said his apartment was comparable in price ranges with Liberty’s The VUE apartments. Living off-campus in normal neighborhoods is not advertised by Liberty but has been an option since the university opened in 1971 according to the Off-Campus Living Guide.

Since 2012, about 53.9% of students live on-campus and 46.1% live off-campus in 2016 according to Liberty’s Quick Facts page online.

If a student is venturing into moving off-campus and into Liberty affiliated apartments, there are some questions they may want to consider.

Questions for students to consider:
1.      Does noise bother me?
2.      Do parties bother me?
3.      Does having a curfew affect me?
4.      Are my friends on-campus or off-campus?
5.      What can I afford?

There may be some strong difference to each community that a student should consider when they determine where to reside in the years to come at Liberty.


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The Truth about Liberty University

By: Caroline Morse

Liberty University made national news on Fox News for allowing college students to conceal carry firearms in dorms and on campus. Fox News published “Liberty University to allow handguns in dorms next fall” in April, 2016 which sparked hundreds of public comments on their article concerning students with handguns on a college campus.

The percent of the public that is not involved with Liberty may get the wrong impression of Liberty students hearing that they are allowed to carry guns on campus. Like many other things with Liberty, the truth may not always be what it seems.

Other popular misconceptions are that Liberty students just sit around and read the Bible all day, they have outrageous rules for being a Christian university and that a student has to be a Christian in order to attend the school.

“So, do Liberty students just sit around and read their Bible all day?” Frederick Community College sophomore Alexja Jackson said.

Because Liberty is a Christian university they are required to take classes on biblical teachings according to Liberty’s degree completion plans for each major. Outside of religious studies, Liberty has roughly over 230 majors to choose from between undergraduate and graduate degrees on their degree plan pages.

When students are not studying, Liberty’s campus seems to thrive off of their Division I, II and III sports. Liberty senior Brent Mayne is very active in the student body when it comes to any type of sports games.

“The midnight mayhem games are my favorite,” said Mayne. “They’re just a lot of fun to be at until two in the morning, everybody gets so excited for them.”

Liberty’s varsity sports have been underway even before the fall semester started back in August and students seem ready to represent the color red once again.

Another misconception Liberty students get asked about regards their school policy and rules that students have to follow on a regular basis.

U.S. Naval Academy midshipman Gabriel Weigelt has friends in secular schools and at Liberty and always compares the different lifestyles of rules. Even living through a military lifestyle, Weigelt perceives the rules at Liberty as more intense than the rules he follows at the academy.

“I have a lot of friends that go to Liberty and I know Liberty is a huge school, but I’m not sure I would ever want to live under all the insane rules they probably have since they are a Christian school,” said Weigelt.

Liberty’s biblical rules may seem out of the ordinary for students who attend secular schools like the U.S. Naval Academy. In Liberty’s student handbook, rules that raise questions from secular students are their single-sex dorms, curfew on every night and a modest dress code for all of the students from the student handbook.

Most secular schools have coed dorms, no curfew and no dress code for the student body. Secular schools like the U.S. Naval Academy have coed dorms, no curfew and a slight dress code in the form of military uniforms according to their school handbook.

Lastly, when Weigelt was asked if students have to believe in God in order to attend Liberty, he gave a very straight forward statement.

“Everybody is a Christian there, you have to be Christian to attend,” Weigelt said.

According to the United States Department of Education’s website home page, Schools are not allowed to discriminate students on their race, beliefs, age or sex. Any type of school between kindergartens to universities must accept all types of students without hesitation.

Liberty’s doors are open to all kinds of students with varying religious beliefs and it is not a requirement for a student to believe in God to attend due to the Department of Education’s rules and regulations.

As a believer or not, every student enrolled through Liberty online or residentially has to take up to 22 credited hours of Christian Life classes in every major Liberty provides. Also, the student body does attend Convocation to worship and hear speakers every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon and students are expected to attend small Bible groups every Wednesday night.

Among the required classes is Evangelism 101 where students learn how to spread their faith to non-believers. Professor of Evangelism David Wheeler has one assignment in particular that has two options for students. Liberty sophomore Kaitlin Lofortti describes her experience when Wheeler asked students to write their testimony about how they came to love Christ and if they do not believe in Christ, they are asked to write why they do not.

“I really liked Wheeler’s optional assignment because it gave everybody an equal opportunity to answer honestly and not be afraid of a bad grade,” said LoForti.

Since schools welcome any student in regardless of their beliefs, Liberty understands that not every student considers themselves a Christian. Therefore, the assignments are applicable to every student regardless of their beliefs.

When the news media erupted over Liberty allowing students to carry concealed firearms, people might have automatically assumed that Liberty had up to 14,000 firearms just strolling around campus. According the article written by Nick Anderson in the Washington Post “Liberty University to allow guns in residence halls” in December of 2015, about 950 students had permits to carry guns on campus.

Stevenson University Senior Blaine Lowry has friends that attend Liberty and they explained to him their different rules between the Liberty Way and Stevenson’s rules.

“Liberty doesn’t seem that bad of a Christian school,” said Lowry. “I wouldn’t consider attending since I’m about to graduate, but I might’ve applied if I had known about this school.”


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Twitter War: Young Broadcaster vs. Hockey Fan

By: W. Bennett Brown

In a day and age where social media is prevalent and comments and complaints can be shelled out faster than you can yell ‘goal’, one upset Rider hockey fan made her feelings known via Twitter during a Men’s Division II matchup between the Liberty University Flames and the Rider Broncs on Saturday, Oct. 15.

With the popularity of social media and Twitter, users are able to message and tweet at almost anyone they please. People are able to get in contact with each other faster and easier than any time in human existence.

Associated Press award-winning broadcaster and Liberty student, Adam Fornwalt, was announcing the game alongside Joe Mixie. It was Fornwalt’s tweet that got things started.

Fornwalt tweeted before the game, “Day 2 kicks of w/ @MixMaster909 and I covering the @LibertyD2Hockey game against @RiderHockey! Game starts at 3pm!”

Fornwalt left a link for the live stream of the game on his Twitter, and the Rider Broncs Twitter account re-tweeted Fornwalt’s message. Shortly after the re-tweet by Rider Hockey, fans began to message various Liberty Twitter accounts including Fornwalt, Mixie and Liberty Hockey to communicate their complaints to each user.

“You have people on social media that are just there to put you down or to make light of what you are doing and I think that you have to pick and choose the people that are actually there to have a real conversation, and for those who are just there to hate on you,” said Fornwalt.

According to Fornwalt, shortly after the game began, fans of Rider hockey began tweeting at Liberty Club Sports (Liberty Club Sports has nothing to do with the actual production of the sports broadcast).

The Twitter war began, as the battle between Rider and Liberty coincided on the ice.


Some of the initial tweets sent out during the hockey game.

“I’m pretty outspoken and tend to leave my heart on my sleeve,” said Fornwalt. “I think I could have handled it better. At some point you have to stick up for yourself in a Christ-like manner. I don’t think what I said was rude.”

The opening puck drop was not caught on camera, which led to @_alexiskennedy’s frustration. She was also upset about the fact more of the warm ups were not shown.

“That was one of the first times dealing with that, as far as someone I did not know attacking me on social media,” said Fornwalt. “I think I learned from it. At the end of the day it encourages me to keep doing what I’m doing.”

According to Fornwalt, young broadcasters will make mistakes. Fornwalt called the Rider team ‘The Broncos’ instead of ‘The Broncs’ and a Rider fan was unhappy with his pronunciation. The fan began pestering the Division II broadcast and the hockey team.

“I joke around that that’s my first hater,” said Fornwalt. “I’m sure there will be plenty more to come. They say haters will come around when you’re doing something right. I felt like the broadcast was good.”

Fornwalt started at the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland and has worked at several smaller colleges. Fornwalt has reported for events such as the Cal Ripken World Series and is currently broadcasting at Liberty University. He is part of two radio shows at the 90.9 radio station at Liberty University.


Various tweets during the Twitter war.

“I could have kept going, there were several more responses to me after that from other people not just her,” said Fornwalt. “But at the end of the day sometimes you have to walk away, your Twitter fight is not worth my career.”

More tweets were sent and exchanged throughout the afternoon, some were congratulatory, and others included expletives and negative feedback from those outside of Liberty. Liberty University ended up defeating Rider with a score of 5-1.

Former Emmy Award winning anchor and ESPN producer, Brandon Pickett, says when interacting with the public try not to get too emotional about what people have to say.

“I’d try to have an open mind and know they have their own opinion,” said Pickett. “Sometimes what they say you can learn from. But also don’t get too excited when they say something good. Don’t get too upset when they say something bad.”

Digital media student, Julie Schlenker, says the human element of communication may be disregarded when talking to other humans online and that people hide behind their computer screens.

“A lot of times people communicate more often via social media, but I think it takes a lot of the depth out of conversations because you’re hiding in an area where they can’t physically see your emotions,” said Schlenker.

Fornwalt says that Twitter is a great tool for those in media, but it is important to be careful what one posts on the Internet, because once it’s out there anyone can see it.

“It (a tweet) starts getting shared and it snowballs,” said Fornwalt. “Really that is how social media works today, things snowball.”

The various Twitter accounts of those who tweeted at Liberty Hockey and Fornwalt were contacted for an interview. No responses or comments were made from those tweeting with complaints.

“We’ve lost some personal interaction and I think that’s bad,” said Pickett. “The person you see on TV is not always the same person that you’d see in person. You have some preconceived notion of them just by what you see on TV… social media has helped us communicate, it’s just how we are communicating.”

Listen to the audio version of the story below.

Shooting range and guns at Liberty University

By: W. Bennett Brown

Over the river and through the woods, to the shooting range we go.

Similar to Little Red Riding Hood’s unawareness of what lurks in the woods, there are students at Liberty University who are unacquainted with the fact that the school has a shooting range.

“I didn’t know that there was one, until they showed us the gun safety video (at Convocation) about how they have people practice when they are taking those courses, but other than that I don’t know anything about it and hadn’t heard of it,” said sophomore student Nathan Volz.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Liberty University is one of the few college campuses in the U.S. that allows students to conceal carry. Liberty University’s shooting range is a well-used destination for students. Police, faculty and students fire rounds from pistols and rifles on Liberty Mountain every week.

According to Liberty University Police Department (LUPD) sergeant, Andrew Medford, LUPD tries to keep the shooting range open two or more days a week. According to Medford, weekends are usually bigger days for people to learn and practice gun safety at the range.

According to Medford, sometimes different events get in the way of scheduling available times at the range, because officers provide security for events like Scaremare or Liberty football games. When firing a weapon at the range there is one instructor or officer per person.

In order for students and the public to shoot at the range, they must complete a four-hour gun safety course.

On a mid-October Saturday, there were more than 10 students and faculty members practicing firearms safety and completing the safety class. Some of the students were there in order to fulfill requirements regarding the ability to conceal carry on campus.

A junior accounting student, Tyler Seeling, attended the shooting range on this warm Saturday afternoon to get better at shooting and get more instruction from the police officers and guides.

Last year some of the media broke out in frenzy after Liberty University’s President, Jerry Falwell encouraged students to carry a gun and take gun safety courses.

Gun crazy, absolutely not, Liberty is not gun crazy,” said junior Liberty student, Nathan Northcutt. “I think Liberty is pro-Second Amendment, but Liberty is not gun crazy.”

According to Liberty University’s website, with over 15,000 students on campus, a small percentage of those living on campus are qualified to get a concealed carry weapons permit.

According to Liberty University’s Weapons Policy, the requirements to conceal a gun on campus as a residential student include – being 21 years of age, no criminal record, Virginia Permit, a permit through Liberty University, passing Liberty University’s General Firearms Safety Course, keeping the gun in your car, on your person, or in a gun safe installed by LUPD and consent from the student’s roommates.

“The ability to conceal carry is one of the main reasons why I ended up going to Liberty,” said Northcutt. “I think that at the end of the day you’re the only one who can protect yourself. We live in a very scary world with evil people and when something happens only you are able to protect yourself. Letting students have that right I think it’s a very appropriate and wonderful thing.”

Northcutt is a Virginia State Champion shooter in the category of three-position small-bore shooting.

“I shoot at least three times a week,” said Northcutt. “As far as practice, that may be dry firing. With concealed carrying I draw from my holster from concealment at least 100 times a night before I go to bed, establishing that muscle memory. Being a responsible firearms owner I practice everyday.”

 Jordan Stein grew up shooting guns in his rural North Carolinian backyard and has shot at the shooting range on campus. The first and only time Stein shot at the range was when he received his certification for his concealed carry permit.

Stein is a senior at Liberty University and is studying Government Politics and Policy. Stein is the president of the Students at Liberty for Gun Rights club.

“A lot of people think we are a gun club, and don’t get me wrong I love to shoot guns,” said Stein. “I have dozens of them, but we are not a gun club. We do go shooting, but that’s not our main focus.”

Stein started the club in 2013 and according to Stein the group has a membership email list of over 1,000 students.

“We want to get students involved and to know about the Second Amendment and the rights it protects,” said Stein. “The Second Amendment doesn’t give you a right, but it protects a God given right … In the club we oppose all forms of gun control.”

The Students at Liberty for Gun Rights host speakers from organizations such as the Gun Owners of America, the National Rifle Association and other groups. The club also has brought in concealed carry classes to teach gun safety.

Students can access the shooting range by traveling up Candlers Mountain Road and then taking a sharp left turn onto a gravel service road, which is just before the main entrance to Liberty University’s Medical Center.

When visitors attend the shooting range a safety lecture is given before firing any weapons. Josh Bryant, an emergency security officer at Liberty University and an assistant instructor gave the safety speech on this particular day.

The speech follows the guidelines that every firearm should be treated as if it is loaded, and to keep the gun pointed away from others – either towards the ground or down range.

When holding a gun at the range, the participants fire from 7 yards out, and it is important to be aware of what is in front and behind the target.

In order to shoot on the range ear protection, as well as safety glasses must be worn.

The shooting range is typically open from 1 p.m. till dusk. The next scheduled gun safety class is Oct. 24 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“You do not have to be 21 to take the class, the folks who teach the class say they’ve had kids in the class,” said Stein. “Even if you have absolutely no interest of carrying a gun or ever owning a gun and shooting a gun, but you want to know gun safety in case you see a gun lying on the ground, you should take the class. It’s four hours and it might save your life one day.”

Anyone interested in attending a gun safety class, or shooting at the range can contact Liberty Police through email at


Listen to the audio version of the story below.


Missionary Kids in America

By: W. Bennett Brown

According to LU Serve International, Liberty University is home to 278 missionary kids (MKs), and the one aspect of the worldview that many missionary kids share when coming to the U.S. is: everyone is deserving of love.

Norman Mintle, the dean of the school of communication and creative arts at Liberty University, the former executive producer of the 700 Club, and current owner of Pure Media Group with his wife, had humble beginnings as a missionary kid.

“I grew up into the culture and became part of Latin American culture,” Mintle said. “It created in me a two-world experience that I find incredibly valuable, and I wish that we could get people to have greater world experience rather than just two weeks on a missions trip while in high school.”

Dove Martin, 19, lived in the U.S. from ages one to four. After age four, she spent 14 years with her family in Turkey. In 2015, Martin began her first year at Liberty University studying athletic training.

“I notice that for me I have a wider perspective on people and places than a lot of other people, those who have only grown up in the U.S.,” Martin said. “I’m very much not attached to the U.S., because I’ve been other places … This is not the end all be all of the world.”

Martin grew up in Turkey, an area that has been in the news in recent months, for various attacks on the land.

“It’s definitely not a warzone, and I’ve never felt unsafe over there,” Martin said.

Richard Bright grew up in the tribal area of Naplud in the Philippines, till the age of ten. After living in Puerto Princesa, Palawan and attending school in Manila, he found his way, in 2015, to the rolling mountains of Lynchburg.

“My parents were tribal missionaries for the first 10 years of my life, but they were there for 20 (years),” Bright said. “It’s very different. There are no roads. The only way to go in and out of the village is by airplane or by hiking. You’re the only white person there. You’re also the only guy above 5-foot-6.”

Mintle, Martin and Bright all have one thing in common – they all grew up as missionary kids and that experience has forever shaped their worldviews.

Richard Bright’s life draws some comparisons to Tarzan. Bright wasn’t raised by great apes, like Tarzan was, but he did grow up in the jungle and had two wild parrots named Mac and Jaber, as friends.

Life in the Philippines was not always a fun time for Bright.

“I think back and there were tough things I saw that you don’t really see in America,” Bright said. “In third world countries you get to see man in his darkest moments. I’ve seen kids throw rocks at another kid with no legs and no arms. I’ve seen mothers giving their three-year-old children glue to sniff so that they don’t feel starving anymore. I’ve seen kids literally living off of garbage, and living on a garbage mount.”

Similar to Bright, Mintle experienced the magnitude of poverty in a third-world country, the effects of physical and mental bullying and the love for a pet.

“I grew up being a minority … I was the gringo, and they threw rocks at me, and they yelled and did all sorts of things when I was a little kid,” Mintle said.

During the 1960s Mintle and his family moved to Costa Rica. Mintle was promised a horse, possibly as a bribe to persuade the elementary-aged-boy to go on the family’s trip. The terrain was rough and the language was foreign, but the best way to have fun as a kid was with his four-legged friend named Thunder.

After one year of living in Costa Rica, Mintle and his family moved to Honduras for four years. According to Mintle, at that time, Honduras was the second-most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere.

While living in Honduras with very few resources, Mintle saw his three younger siblings suffer from life threatening disease and injuries.

“I saw the power of God, to preserve, to heal and to intervene in our lives when there was no hope for anything else,” Mintle said. “I saw God miraculously heal all three of my siblings, who were close to death.”

Mintle came from a rigid and fundamental thinking family whose thoughts were different from his own.

“All Catholics were doomed to hell and that Baptists barely made it in (into heaven),” Mintle said.

Mintle did not embrace that way of thinking. Through his foreign experience, he gained an appreciation for how people express their love for God in different ways, styles and different looking churches.

“Who am I to judge whether or not you, or anybody who goes to any other of a thousand different kinds of Christian churches, don’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?” Mintle said.

Mintle, Bright and Martin said that missionaries are sometimes viewed as being holy, or on the contrary, horribly behaved and worse than pastors’ kids.

According to the three MKs, people think that they or their family have some special skill that is necessary to be a missionary. The MKs say being a missionary takes someone who is willing, not someone special.

“I have had people say, ‘I don’t understand these missionaries. They’re kind of out there,’” said Mintle. “I go, ‘You’re right, you don’t.’ Missionaries who are massively and totally reliant on God for everything, are totally and massively reliant on God for everything and that includes sometimes food and sometimes life.”

According to Bright, the religious practices in the Philippines are different from Turkey, Latin America and the U.S. The major religion in the Philippines is Roman Catholicism with a mixture of animistic traditions, as well as Folk-Catholicism.

“You’ll see a lot of things that Filipino Catholics do, that most Roman Catholics in the western world don’t usually do,” Bright said. “One of the big things is during Easter or Holy Week they actually would do crucifixions on people. They will reenact it and have volunteers whip themselves and actually be crucified with nails on the cross.”

Now in their 27th year of working in the mission field, Bright’s family continues to serve in the Philippines.

Bright lived around those with different versions of Christianity and Martin says she was comfortable growing up in a Muslim culture.

Martin understands what it is like to live in an area where your beliefs are different from those around you.

“I think the big misconception is that all Muslims are terrorists and ‘be afraid’ is everybody’s natural reaction to those people,” Martin said. “I grew up around Muslims and they’re the most hospitable and nicest people I have ever met. It’s discouraging because the moment you start to fear something, that’s going to ruin your ministry.”

According to Martin, Turkey is 98 to 99 percent Muslim.

“God has a heart for them and really loves them … Not all Muslims are terrorists,” Martin said. “Not all Christians are crusaders … There is such a double standard there. God loves Muslims and you should too.”

Martin says it is most important to understand someone else’s worldview rather than force your own worldview and beliefs onto them.

“If I was a Muslim I would rather have someone get to know me on a friendship level than try to have someone try to convert me … Make sure you are loving and caring for a person, and from that you’ll have the desire for them to know Christ out of a genuine love for someone else,” Martin said.

The worldview of a MK includes the ideology that God’s love is for all people.

“My experience was amazing and glorious and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Mintle said. “It left me with two languages. It left me with a deep-deep appreciation for the rest of the world and an understanding that the United States is not the center of God’s universe … A lot of Americans and a lot American Christians seem to think that God created the whole universe just for this country. Well, this country is going down hill pretty fast. My concern is not only for this country, but my concern is much broader. I have a world vision for what we can do in our school and with our students. And I think that all comes from being a missionary kid. It comes from a deeper understanding that we are not alone in this world. There are people of value.”

Hear from Bright, Martin, Mintle and the author in the audio version of the story below.

New Meal Plan for Resident Students

by: Josh Barrick

Who? Liberty Students and head of Liberty food services

What? Freedom Dinning Plus meal plan

When? Fall 2016

Where? All food locations on campus except Pizza Hut

Liberty University is expanding their resident dinning meal options once again by offering a new dinning meal plan for the fall semester of 2016.

This upcoming fall semester Liberty will be introducing the Freedom Dinning Plus meal plan. This new plan will allow students to enjoy all of the regular food choices like the Reber-Thomas Dinning Hall and the Tilley Student Center, but the new plan will have some new venues as well.

The new plan now will extend to food options listed as following:

Students will be allowed to have 10 bonus meal swipes to these places per week. As far as what the swipes will get you that is still to be determined.

“The menu has not fully been created yet, but there will be one meal at each place that will count as a swipe. For example, at Dunkin Donuts the swipe could include a cup of coffee and a donut. We are still in the process of deciding what the swipe will consist of at each location,” Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services Louis Cambeletta said.

The new student center will be completed by the fall semester and will have five new food options. These options include Garbanzo’s (Mediterranean), Star Ginger (Asian), UFood (burgers), The Grid Marketplace (a convenience store concept) and Argo Tea (teahouse). All will be made available to use a swipe at with the new plan.

Liberty has always listened to the opinion of their students and tried to meet their needs as much as they can. The new meal plan is no exception as students are already raving over the new swipe options.

“This new meal plan is fire and I am super stoked about it. I’m excited for the new changes Liberty is going through including this new meal plan as food is very important to me,” Liberty student Payton Taylor said.

“I have always said Liberty should allow those places to take swipes. That makes me a happy man. I love those places but never ate there because my plan did not cover it,” Liberty student standout Andrew Yacyk said.

There will still be a Freedom Dinning basic plan for those on campus which will not include the 10 bonus swipes a week to the new options. As far as commuters go there will still be the 30, 60 and 90 swipe plan. This is the prepaid plan where the students pay up front for the swipes they get.

However, if students only buy the swipes they will not be able to use them at new options like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. In order for them to receive these benefits they must buy the Freedom Dinning Plus plan.

The Freedom Dinning Plus plan seems like the way to go in the Fall 2016 semester. The University will have to see if their new plan pays off in the end and ultimately makes their students happy.

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Web News Story

Liberty University has announced its new meal plan called the Freedom Dinning Plus plan for the upcoming Fall semester and the benefits that will come with it.

Liberty will continue to have their normal plans that they had last year like their basic Freedom Dinning Plan for resident students, as well as the swipe plan (30,60 and 90) for commuters.

These plans worked well for the University and there is no reason to change them.

However, the new Freedom Dinning Plus plan is a wonderful addition to all the other existing plans. It will allow the students to have 10 bonus swipes to new venues around the campus. These venues include Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Auntie Anne’s, SubConnection, Chick-Fil-A and five new food options in the upcoming student center.

The new student center will be built by the beginning of the Fall semester. Its food choices will include Garbanzo’s (Mediterranean), Star Ginger (Asian), UFood (burgers), The Grid Marketplace (a convenience store concept) and Argo Tea (teahouse).

These new bonus swipes were made available with the intention of giving the students better food choices in the meal plan and giving the students more convenient places to eat during classes.

“Our main intention in making these new swipes available was to benefit the students by making it more convenient to have food choices near the library and Demoss. Now students will not have to go to the Reber-Thomas Dinning Hall or North Campus to use their meal plans.”

After hearing about the new plan, students are raving over the new options and benefits that it will bring.

“Now that Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts is part of the meal plan that will lighten up my pockets because I will not have to spend extra money to go there anymore. The most important thing about the new plan is that it will be time efficient. I might not be able to make it over to the rot in between classes but now I can just go use a swipe at Starbucks,” Liberty student Corey Howard.

The new plan will be the most convenient and inclusive plan Liberty University has ever offered.

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